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"Klute" was a mixture of lone cop and private eye: a police officer who
was hired privately to investigate somebody's disappearance
led him deep into the world of New York call-girls, pimps and drug
It was all shown, the vice, the degradation, but with
intelligent compassion and honest humanity instead of the leer that so
often sits on the face of the Seventies
Although barely more talkative than "Dirty Harry," "Klute" emerged as a whole human being rather than as a robot programmed to shoot and hit And as a high class hooker Bree Daniel, Jane Fonda achieved a characterization that has never been surpassed in all the abundant literature of tarts with hearts
"Klute" was a modern, as honest and unflinching as any fanatic for realism could ask; yet it was never curious about sexuality, never needlessly violent, never brutal And for complete, entertaining suspense, it was up there with the great ones: an enormous tribute to the producer-director Alan J. Pakula
I can't believe that only one user has had a comment on this film after almost 34 years. I remember seeing this film as a undergraduate in 1971. As far as anything goes in 1971, this was as erotic as a film got in that year without garnering an "X" rating. God, life was simpler then. I just watched this film for the first time since 1971 (34 years ago) and every ounce of suspense was still there. Donald Southerland was new to film then and had not yet earned his reputation as the consummate character actor. Jane Fonda had not yet earned the epithet of "Hanoi Jane". And Jean Stapleton was not yet known as "Edit". Although this film seems a little dated as far as acting styles go. The "creep" factor is still there. Anyone who has viewed a few episodes of "Law and Order" will see the obvious villain in the first 30 minutes of this film but will also appreciate the strenuous character development that is evident in the film. Although it is obvious fairly early on who the bad guy is, it's interesting to see the expository effort that is expended in order to flesh out the characters. I am so glad that most of the actors involved in this endeavor went on to greater glory. I thank DARPA for the internet for my ability to inflict my opinions on more than a "small circle of friends".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jane Fonda plays a prostitute or call girl (The difference being about
$75,000.00 a year) and runs into Klute ( a detective,who is
investigating a murder)...Jane Fonda's role is whereby she is
emotionally neglected, and her inability to cope reflects her socially
adverse environment!! Jane Fonda's mental resolve is broken down in
bits and pieces, one moment is devoted to confusion, the next to raging
anger, all of her actions are due to unexplained frustration and
discontentment!! Bree's (Jane Fonda's) intransigence with rational
thought intensifies throughout the entire film, and Klute (Donald
Sutherland) is blasted with red light district depravity from all
sides.. New York City evokes a natural callousness by being extremely
disconcerting to everyone's situation!! For a prostitute to have any
subjectivity by way of feelings is just not taken into consideration!!
What choice does a venue like New York City really have when heinous
crimes are ubiquitous in how they accompany a second hand on a clock?
The acting is compelling in this movie!! The early seventies spread out a welcome mat for all the diverse, stigmatic, cultural stereotypes!! Movies about sub level poverty, minority dilemmas, and prostitutes, invoked a sense of intellectual awareness that these groups of people had about conscious stricken-ed ideas and doubts, hence, they engaged in a situational pontification just like everyone else!! The dreary scenario of prostitution and violent crimes provide pathos for the overall despondence everyone is victimized by, and capitulation to what appears to be the least ugly choice out of many catastrophic ones!! This wry insensitivity is what compounds the underclass' fears about how they are not even considered statistics!! Expenditure involving prostitution delves into the element of psychological nurturing!! Viewing this whole rigmarole very clinically, you would be given this very pragmatic advice from Bree (Jane Fonda) "Do not squander your money for an hour long excursion with a psycho whore, buy a used dishwasher instead!!" The movie audience has not missed the point!! In this movie, life does not make any sense for anybody!!
What an awesome film. A good movie to contrast this with, is the film
"Devil's Own". Both were directed by the late, great Alan J. Pakula, but
were products of vastly different quality. You couldn't pick up a paper, and
not read about how much Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt hated each other, and
the end product suffered because of it. You had the core of a good movie
torn apart, because the Pitt part, and the Ford part didn't co-exist.
No Such problem with "Klute". Here, all the pieces fit together. Scheider's suave, non-chalant pimp, Sutherland's lonely, enigmatic pseudo-gumshoe, and Fonda's basket case call girl all fit wonderfully. In fact, there are no slackers in this cast. Michael Small's creepy score also deserves mention, as does Pakula's masterful use of gritty, realistic New York City.
It's almost depressing to watch the raw talent at work in films like "Klute". Nowadays, films are so much the result of magazine polling, and the ever-present bottom line. It's true, we still have independent films, but even they are getting co-opted by big money. Still, I suppose there still are the John Sayles' of the world holding out. God bless 'em.
Despite the rough-edges reputation of Pakula, he always manages to give us
some beautifully shot, almost fragile images. Like Fonda pondering an
envelope full of money and a blank invoice while surrounded by
clothing-store dummies; or Sutherland choosing apricots by feel; or even Roy
Scheider's silent acknowledgement that he is being used. And Fonda's artless
performance is so unbelieveable, I couldn't believe it was
Terrifically acted - everyone takes just the right tone. My only quibble about the movie is how the mystery is solved. It's much too abrupt given the meandering pace of the rest of the movie. But the plot means nothing in this surprisingly delicate character study.
I agree with the commentator(s) who say the title of this film should be 'Bree' instead of 'Klute.' No offense to Donald Sutherland who is undoubtedly effective in his role, but it is Jane Fonda's wonderfully nuanced performance that really carries this film. What an incredible range this actress has and what an impressive résumé she has put together throughout her career! I can't wait to see her in Monster In Law. Jane Fonda definitely deserved the Oscar she got for this role. Her portrayal of Bree Daniels, a tragic heroine wracked by inner contradictions is one of cinema's most haunting characters not only in the context of the story but as the embodiment of the immediate post sexual revolution as well. Highly recommended!
In Pennsylvania, when his old friend, the laboratory engineer Tom
Gruneman (Robert Mili), vanishes, detective John Klute (Donald
Sutherland) is hired by Tom's colleague Peter Cable (Charles Cioffi) to
search for him. The unique lead is an obscene letter written by Tom to
a call-girl in New York called Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda), and Klute
moves to the Apple city to investigate the disappearance of Tom. Klute
blackmails Bree to help him to find other prostitutes that might have
been with Tom using some tapes of her phone calls that he had secretly
recorded. They realize that some is stalking Bree, while Klute falls in
love for Dress, and she has some sort of feeling that she can not
understand for him.
In 1971, Jane Fonda was a muse worshiped by many teenagers like me, and I was particularly following her work through the sexy and cult sci-fi "Barbarella" and "They Shoot Horses, Don't They", an excellent adaptation of Horace McCoy's novel of the same name that had impressed me a lot. "Klute" was considered erotic in those times and the scene where Dree fakes an orgasm while looking at her watch was a sensation. Later I saw this movie many times on VHS, and now I have just bought the DVD.
"Klute" is really a classic film-noir, one of my favorite movies ever, with an engaging story with thriller, crime and romance, magnificent direction and stunning performances of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland in the role of very believable characters. Jane Fonda deserved the Oscar perfectly playing a very complex character, strong and insensitive with her clients, fragile and confused with love. It is amazing how this movie has not aged and how much I like it every time I see it. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Klute, O Passado Condena" ("Klute, the Past Condemns")
Permeated by a kind of haughty, stoned decadence, Alan J. Pakula's "Klute" concerns a sexy, shaggy prostitute in N.Y.C. who is the only real link to a missing family man from suburbia; a close friend of the man asserts himself as detective on the case, and after questioning the girl and trailing her, he finds himself drawn to her. Billed as a mystery-thriller, "Klute" is more of a dramatic character study, with preconceived plot threads devised by two screenwriters who can barely keep their secrets from spilling out. The final moments which piece the story together don't ring true (starting about the time Jane Fonda attacks Donald Sutherland and runs out into the street), but until then it's a dandy show-piece for Fonda, who gives an Oscar-winning performance. The ins-and-outs of the hooker-biz aren't really explored, but we get all we need just by listening to Fonda's dialogue (her complaints to her psychiatrist, her need for Sutherland's companionship) and by seeing her living alone in her apartment. For the actress, it's stellar work; for director Pakula, it's a bit thin around the edges. ***1/2 from ****
This is without a doubt the most intensely atmospheric film I've ever seen, and certainly the best, tied perhaps only with Chinatown. Pakula's eye shows us the true grit and grime of the city that never sleeps. Klute was packaged as a suspense thriller, but it is so much more than that. It is also a character study (either of Bree herself, or the city itself). It is a love story. It is a study of urban stereotypes. And did I mention the music? The eerie scrapes, nervous marimba and fearsome humming will really creep you out, but the warm trumpets and delicate strings on the flipside are warm and enveloping. Anyway, back to the film. The slow scenes are equally crucial as the action scenes; the gorgeous sequence of Bree and John Klute shopping for oranges in the city market at night is a powerful statement that love can exist between opposites. Fonda's brilliantly improvised therapy scenes are explosive as they are heartrending. No actress, living or dead, can touch her. As the beautiful and confused Bree she is both vulnerable and in charge. The unraveling of her psyche is fascinating to watch, as is John Klute's repulsion and fascination with "the city folk". The final confrontation will disturb and haunt you for days. Bottom line, essential. No film will take you into its world quite like this one. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.
Accented throughout by the late Michael Small's unsettling piano-&-stoned-soprano soundtrack, "Klute" is one of the defining films of the 1970's. Fonda plays an NYC call girl named Bree Daniels attempting to break free from her sordid past who is being stalked by an ex-john into S&M sex. Sutherland is her hero John Klute, a very decent guy from Pennsylvania who works as a private investigator looking for a missing man who may have been this very client. Naturally, they fall in love, but it is an often brutal experience emotionally because Bree is a cold-hearted tart who has been in the business so long she is incapable of having an orgasm. Jane is phenomenal throughout, including her sessions with a psychiatrist (which have the feel of pure improv) and auditioning for a play (I thought she was pretty good) and Sutherland lends solid support, even if his face remains pretty much poker.
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